In the middle of Europe’s largest square, Rynek Glowny there is the famous ‘Sukiennice’, the Draper’s or Cloth Hall. There were many other similar places in Europe but none as important as Krakow’s Sukiennice, a market place for merchants of all kinds able to sell and buy very exotic products such as silk and leather goods. Obviously, salt from the nearby Wielicka Salt Mine was traded from there.
Although today the Sukiennice has mainly souvenir shops with many hand-crafted and cottage products it offers high quality amber stone items, lace articles and quality woodwork. At the height of its most prosperous golden period in the 15th century it was a very influential and major international trade market.
Krakow’s Draper’s Hall is the best preserved building of this type and is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. The most recent renovations finished in 2010. Tomasz Prylinski was given the task of reviving the edifice in 19th century after it’s gradual decline through war and border changes. His improvements and dedicated restoration was to be his finest and proudest moment as well as for Krakow.
The in-house museum has a vast collection of art which after the recent renovations has divided it into 4 display rooms called: Bacciarelli, Michalowski, Siemiradzki and Chelmonski all with a different period or style of art.
The Sukiennice hosted many official functions in the past and decadent balls were held on the first floor of the building. Prince Charles was a visitor in 2002 and many other dignitaries have walked the prestigious hall that has served Poland well in trade, fine art and diplomatic protocol.